With 2,949 new cases in the past 24 hours and 44 deaths, Italy has touched unprecedented pandemic numbers. Specifically, it was since October 2020 that coronavirus statistics hadn’t been so low in the country. Overall, since the beginning of the emergency, Italy has had 4.2 million positive cases and 126,000 deaths. Currently, 1,061 people are placed in intensive care around the country, and 6,591 are hospitalized. 

Health authorities in the country appear optimistic. “Starting from mid-June all of Italy could be in a white zone. It’s undoubtedly an improving scenario,” commented Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS). “We are now in a transition phase," he continued. “Thanks to the improvement in vaccine coverage, the virus is circulating less […]. The reopenings are having successful outcomes, and there will be space for more economic activity in the future. I insist that we need to be careful. We are not out of the pandemic yet,” he added.

Currently, about 20% of the Italian population has been vaccinated. Overall, more than 34 million doses have been administered, and on May 28th a record was hit, with 572,000 vaccine doses being inoculated in a single day.

“I am positively surprised because the epidemic numbers are definitely improving in Italy, even beyond the most optimistic expectations. With the reopenings, there was a 10% chance that things would develop this way, but in the end it went well and I am very happy,” said Massimo Galli, director at the Infectious Diseases department at the Luigi Sacco hospital in Milan. “The vaccination campaign has been a turning point, one that will not be temporary. The vaccines are behaving like a shield against deaths and hospitalizations, they have created a new balance quickly, and the number of vaccinated people is rising steadily,” he pointed out. 

Currently, the majority of Italian regions are marked as “yellow zone”, involving fewer restrictions compared to the orange and red zones. Restrictions in the yellow zone include: a curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., the possibility to have a maximum of 4 guests at home, the need to wear a face mask at all times in public spaces and to maintain a one meter distance between people. Museums and cinemas are open up to a 50% capacity, and most other services, including gyms (from June 1st) and open-air swimming pools (from May 15th), are open as well. Starting from June 1st, sitting indoors in bars and restaurants is going to be allowed everywhere in the country.

Starting from May 31st, the regions of Sardinia, Friuli Venezia Giulia and Molise are going to be marked as “white zones”, involving the fewest restrictions (face mask wearing and 1 meter distancing) and no curfew. Nightclubs are currently among the activities that are still not allowed to open anywhere, although according to Vice Minister of Health Pierpaolo Sileri “I hope they will soon be open thanks to the green pass, and that they will also become vaccination centers, so that young people that are more skeptical about vaccinations can be involved as well.”

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